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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


Leading the attack on Iwo Jima

Japanese soldiers wore gas masks to suppress the nauseating smell of sulfur as they dug deep into the bowels of Iwo Jima. Eventually, an 11-mile maze of tunnels would connect underground barracks, hospitals, ammo dumps, water supplies and foodstuffs. Above the tunnels, bunkers and pillboxes by the hundreds awaited the American assault that was inevitable.

April 15, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Julius Astin: Farm boy from Rutledge

At approximately 0600 on the morning of June 6, 1944, the warships of Task Force 125 began their bombardment on German positions behind Utah Beach. Overhead, 276 Marauder B-26 medium bombers dropped tons of bombs on selected targets from les Dunes de Varreville to Beau Guillot.

April 08, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Sosebee receives Legion of Honor

On May 19, 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte established the 'Ordre National de la Legion d'honneur' (National Order of the Legion of Honor), better known as the Legion of Honor. Presented for extraordinary civilian and military contributions to the fatherland, the Legion of Honor is France's highest distinction.

April 03, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Courage under fire

More than one Leatherneck would agree, it's befitting that a young man from Montezuma chose to join the United States Marine Corps. The month was November, the year 1965, the man: Eli Fobbs.

April 01, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Steve Blanton Gutsy Airman. Survivor. Patriot.

A 1948 "Grady baby", Steve Blanton recalled a childhood without modern conveniences. "We were very poor. We had no indoor plumbing and I toted water from Granny's house because she had city water. Heat was generated by a wood burning stove, I remember the old lamp lights and thought we were rich when we finally got electricity."

March 25, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The Wall, Their Wall, Our Wall

Many Vietnam veterans have visited Our Wall to pay tribute to the

March 18, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Downed pilots finally come home

An airfield in northeast Thailand designated as NKP (Nakhon Phanom) during the Vietnam War was actually a Royal Thai Naval Base. The Thais utilized NKP as a home base for river patrols along the murky Mekong River, the internationally accepted border between Thailand and Laos. The small community of Nakhon Phanom on the banks of the Mekong became a boom town during the American involvement in Southeast Asia.

March 04, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Virgil Weems helped to integrate Marines

After absurd bickering and declining political roadblocks, "men of color" were finally able to serve in the United States Marine Corps. The date was June 1, 1942. Sent to Camp Lejeune, N.C., for training, black recruits quickly discovered a segregated military still existed; they were assigned to a separate training facility called Montford Point.

February 25, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A wintry lesson in perspective

It's not yet 10 a.m. on Wednesday Feb. 12, and the Peach State's 2014 Icemageddon already has Georgians in its Arctic grip.

February 18, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Unsung heroes: Remembering black soldiers

Fortunately, Black History Month basically assures us that young Americans will be taught about the immortals of African-American achievement. The contributions by Americans with the names Frederick Douglass, W.E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver and Martin Luther King Jr. should be known to all teachers and students of American history.

February 15, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


Mecca: Veteran serves in war and peace

The American Legion state adjutant has said that Post 77 in Conyers is the model for all American Legions in Georgia. One member has been instrumental in helping Post 77 earn that claim to fame.

May 02, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Helms brothers in submarine action

In 1828, the two Helms brothers received a land grant for a homestead in Henry County. They packed their belongings, hitched up an old blind mule, loaded the kids into a wagon (both had lost their wives) and began the arduous journey from the Carolinas to their new habitat. Once settled, they built a log cabin and worked the land.

April 16, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Young veteran transitions home

A Grady baby and lifelong member of Saint John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church, Joe Roden moved with his family from Atlanta to Conyers when he was 14 years old. By age 17, Roden already aspired to join the Army.

April 09, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Iwo Jima, 25 years after battle

The oldest continuous seagoing service, the United States Coast Guard, was the brainchild of Alexander Hamilton. Founded Aug. 8, 1790, the Coast Guard has served in 17 conflicts, from the Quasi-War of 1798 to present day anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.

April 02, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Soldier recalls fighting in rice paddies, jungles

Born in the old Porterdale Hospital, Doug Garner and his family moved to Conyers before settling into Covington. He attended Newton County High School before working at the Bibb Plant in Porterdale, but instead of waiting for the inevitable draft notice, Garner chose to enlist in the U.S. Army. The year was 1966. Garner was 18.

March 26, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: War divides the world, fails to separate twins

The United States Maritime Service, sometimes referred to as Mariners, but known worldwide as the Merchant Marines, suffered casualties of 3.9 percent, equating to roughly 9,400 killed and 12,000 wounded of the roughly 215,000 crewmembers during World War II.

March 19, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: From baseball to bombings

To say Yellow Brick Home resident John Slavik came from humble beginnings is a misrepresentation of European history. A 'multi-cultural' beginning is closer to the truth.

March 12, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Local soldier recalls fighting at Battle of the Bulge

The Army's 2nd Infantry Division landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day +1, June 7, 1944, near St. Laurent-sur-Mer. After crossing the Aure River to liberate Trevieres on June 10, the 2nd Infantry Division started a trek across France that would take them all the way into Germany.

March 05, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


Soldier experiences devastation of bombs

McDonough native Joe Turner was born in 1927 during hard times, then lived through the Great Depression. As a member of the Greatest Generation, Turner served in World War II, came home to finish college, and became a successful insurance salesman. As a history and geography enthusiast, he dreamed of going to far-off places, of glimpsing history, and vacationing in countries he'd only read about or studied in school.

February 26, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Elrod fights to end

Wake Island is a pint-sized coral atoll in the middle of nowhere, 2,300 miles west of Honolulu and 1,510 miles east of Guam. This tiny speck of sand and palm trees actually consists of three islands - Wake, Wiles and Peale - with a combined shoreline of 12 miles. The highest elevation is 20 feet. History would record Wake Island as the only battle in World War II where an amphibious assault failed when a ragtag group of American marines, sailors, civilian workers and 45 Chamorro Islanders turned back a Japanese invasion.

February 19, 2013 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


Mecca: Wolfe thrives in military 'boys' club'

Raised in the traditions and customs of the Tsalagi Native American Indians (more familiar as the Cherokees of North Carolina), Peter Elizabeth Wolfe was destined to shatter stereotypes and bring down the walls of the most exclusive Boys' Club in America - the United States military.

February 12, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Missing but not forgotten

On May 7, 1944, 2nd Lt. William Parkinson was reported missing in action after his B-24 Liberator heavy bomber disappeared over the jungles near Lea, New Guinea. On Jan. 18, two U.S. Army officers presented the urn containing Parkinson's remains to his descendants in Conyers. After 69 years, 2nd Lt. Parkinson was finally home.

February 09, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Local medic heals wounds, saves lives

In his book "Medic," author Ben Sherman quotes a training sergeant giving the final lecture to a class of graduating Army medics: "...listen to me one more time. 'Restore breathing! Stop bleeding! Make mobile!' And you WILL do everything you learned here, every technique, every field drill, every maneuver...you will do everything absolutely perfect. And you will do ALL these things with tears in your eyes...and your stomach in your throat."

January 29, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Parkinson no longer MIA

At the end of World War II, the United States government was unable to retrieve and identify more than 79,000 Americans. Almost 70 years later, more than 73,000 are still missing.

January 22, 2013 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


Flying the All American

Mention All-American in Tuscaloosa or the remotest corner of Alabama and you'll hear names like running back Eddie Lacy or quarterback A.J. McCarron, two of the numerous young athletes instrumental in the Crimson Tide's most recent National Championship. Another young athlete, by every definition an All-American and 23 years old at the time, flew into aviation history on Feb. 1, 1943 as pilot of the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber named All-American.

January 15, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


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